Country of origin: Germany
Berry color: Green
Common synonyms: White Riesling, Johannesburg Riesling
Comments: The TTB-approved prime name is Riesling (White Riesling)
Riesling is the noble wine grape variety of Germany, where, in the Rhine and Moselle regions, the grapes have produced distinctive, quality wines for centuries. The cultivation of Riesling in Germany is believed to date back to the time of Roman occupation. It has been grown in California since the late 1800s. It is most commonly grown in the cooler production regions, with the majority of the acreage found in the Central Coast.
Vine yield can vary considerably by climatic region, site influences, and cultural practices. Crop size can range from 4 to 8 tons per acre. Riesling tends to overcrop when it is grown on deep, fertile sites.
Riesling can produce table wines that are distinctive in aroma and flavor. The wines can have intense fruit aromas of apricot or peach. Wine styles range from dry to very sweet dessert wines. The highest quality is achieved when the grapes are grown in the cooler production areas. It is well suited for the production of late-harvest dessert wines. The susceptibility to Botrytis infection and the retention of acidity through the very late stages of ripening allow the grapes to become concentrated by dehydration and still retain sufficient acidity to balance the high residual sugar.
Foundation Plant Services at UC Davis is the source of Foundation grapevine material for the nursery industry, and the staff can provide information about possible sources for obtaining this stock.
The National Grape Registry (NGR) contains information about varieties of wine, juice, and table grapes, raisins, and grape rootstocks available in the United States. Growers, nurseries, winemakers and researchers can find background information and source contacts for those grape varieties in this single convenient location.
Sweet, N. 2009. Riesling Selections (pdf). FPS Grape Program Newsletter, Foundation Plant Services, University of California, Davis, California. pp. 23-37.